Life

Life
  • 1684
  • 40
  • 23

My Recent Posts

Are We Living or Just Existing?

A question I often ask myself.  Although I am an engineer, I chose to write my first article on Life because I feel that, in today's rapidly degenerating society, there is no other topic of similar importance to majority of the world's population.  There are no statistics quoted here, only my observations during my travels and my discussions with random people are expressed.

My job takes me to different parts of Australia and the world where I get opportunity to discuss life with people from different cultures and socio-economic groups.  My observation is that overall the majority of people, at least with whom I have spoken to, are living a very discontent life.  I am sure there are many lucky and blessed people on this planet but I have not come across that many. Regardless of people's culture or position in the society, people are complaining and blaming others.  The managers are blaming the workers, the workers are blaming the management, the teachers are blaming the students and the parents are blaming the teachers and finally we are all blaming the leaders and the governments.  Do we have any control on our own lives or are we controlled by the chosen few?  In order to find this out, I think we need to ask some fundamental questions to ourselves.

  • Are we being rightly educated? - Yes, the technology has provided society with several tools to accumulate knowledge but do we understand it?   Is suffocating the brain with knowledge education? Are we teaching our children common-sense and life skills?  In my hotel room I wrote "If one has only job skills, there is a good chance that the person may fail miserably in life but if a person has life skills, the job skills are already included in it".  Who is going to teach us the life skills?
  • Basis of our relationships - It seems that right across the planet the human social fabric is falling apart.  Is it because we are very selfish and there is no compassion?  Do we need to go back to fundamentals?  Are we selling our bodies, minds and in some cases our souls for regular bursts of materialistic pleasures?  
  • Role of philosophy and spirituality in our lives - Do we have time to admire the creation around us.  So often we are running to work and miss out the ocean or a beautiful hill.  Can we slow down a little and experience life?  Are we just going to go from the womb to the tomb without experiencing life?  I used to play golf with my associates (some of them retired directors and CEO'S), and most of them had only one thing to say Ï missed out on life".  Even their children do not care about the money or the position they held.  What a tragedy.
  • Self Knowledge before Success - Should we try to understand ourselves before chasing the society defined success?  Is that what we really want?  Many people who are on the highest rung of corporate ladder later find that it is not what they really wanted.  One more unhappy grave.
I feel, regardless of one's position in life, philosophy should be an integral part of our lives so that we can create an environment for well being of our physical and mental health.  We are here to live and not just exist.  I will be grateful for feedback expressed through feelings on my article.

Comments

Mahendra Kent Added Mar 1, 2014 - 5:36pm
Will be grateful for comments.
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 1, 2014 - 11:23pm
Thank you very much for your comments. I have no reason to doubt the contents of your comments.  We all observe life from different platform and are conditioned differently which affects the observation.  It is quite likely that my observation is from tinted glasses.
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 2, 2014 - 12:31am
Robert,
In my experience, one has to be pretty focused to reach the top which is not a wrong thing because we need people on the top.  There are a few lucky ones who have managed to combine both family life and their professional life.  What I was trying to say in my article was that we should question life, where possible, and have a balance approach.  Sometimes we lose our way in this fast moving society.  From my experience it is possible to combine the two.  
 
I feel that you will be compassionate to the people you hire.  
Howard Lowe Added Mar 2, 2014 - 10:43am
Mahendra -  I was a workaholic for many years - about 60 to be more exact.  As an entrepreneur, I started with nothing except a good education and a drive to succeed, but not at any cost.  My last big failure came at the wrong time in life - I was 86 years of age.  Realizing that it was too late to recoup, I have accepted life as it is.  While I still have a tendency toward being a workaholic, I have decide to ration my time - only 4 -5 hours writing articles on climate and energy.  This to keep an active mind.  
I now enjoy staying in close touch by phone with my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Now, for a general observation.  When I look at history I see that when man falls into periods of spiritual, political and moral malaise, war become inevitable.  This sounds like a very pessimistic view of mankind, but following wars a new wave of spirituality and political cleansing occurs.  I know this is a sad commentary on LIFE, but it can be traced back thousands of years.   Is it tragedy followed by rejuvenation of humanity - morality and compassion?  What do you think?
By the way, I am also and engineer, and traveled the world for 50 years of my professional life.
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 2, 2014 - 2:24pm
Hello Susanne,
 
Thank you very much for your comment.  I am an observer of life and not a preacher so I share my views with people and learn from comments from people like yourself.  My observation is that technology and pursuit for materialistic things have isolated us from each other.  Back in my days it was fun to go swimming in public pools and play with others.  Today I see no one using their personal swimming pools often because there is no fun for kids to swim alone.  Private tennis courts in houses are unused because kids get tired of playing with parents.  Friends are far away and busy with technical toys like phones and Nintendo.  Our lives seem to be confined in electronic screens.  This I see in Australia and other places I travel.  I also noticed it in California during my past three visits.  Perhaps I am wrong and the people I associate are not representative of the majority.  In my heart I believe that it is time to at least review what we are doing.  We may not become happy but at least we may be able to share causes of unhappiness with each other.
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 2, 2014 - 2:36pm
Hello Howard,
 
In your comment the key is "drive for success but not at any cost". That is where some people go wrong because they want success at any cost.  I am also working on energy (thermal power stations and mining).  I have my views on the subject which I would like to share with you one day.  It is so nice to see that you are sharing your experience and understanding with others by writing articles. Perhaps we should compare notes on our travels.
 
I tend to agree with you about wars.  However, unlike religion, spirituality is very personal affair.  I feel that understanding oneself should lead to compassion.  I sense a change in human behavior which suggests to me that they are kind of tired of present system.  As you say, perhaps it is time for rejuvenation.   I do not see any pessimism in your comment.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts. 
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 2, 2014 - 11:06pm
Hi Susanne,
 
Thank you for commenting again.  I feel honored with your response.  We are all trying to fill a void in our lives.  Some with money, some with position, some with religion and some with other means.  In my experience, we can only fill that void if we know what has caused that void.  We cannot find the answer until we learn about ourselves.  Once we know ourselves, there is compassion and we feel bliss which is different than happiness.  
 
I am so glad that you are making the efforts to know yourself. Most people are frightened to find out about themselves.  My colleagues find it strange that I am always talking about life despite being an engineer.  I love investigating life because it is so much more interesting to me.  Please keep moving on your path because you will find tranquility and a tranquil mind is efficient and full of passion.  Please keep pouring your feelings of compassion as that is what this world needs right now. My best regards 
Ed Kashmarek Added Mar 3, 2014 - 1:14am
Hello everyone, very interesting thread here. Let me first say that, other than not having an income, which is pretty tough, being unemployed can be a good thing for a person, at least for a time. I have been unemployed for lengthy periods twice in my life. The first time I quit without a plan B, bad idea. The second time, which is now, came due to a job displacement.
 
Both of my unemployment periods have allowed me to do an awful lot of thinking, learning, exploring, networking, engaging in old hobbies and finding new ones, getting back in touch with people, and on and on. I have used these times in my life for soul searching and improvement, as well as leisure and fun. I have used these periods most efficiently, I would say, and tried the make the best of a bad situation.
 
Through it all, I have leaned heavily on my faith. Interestingly, like Mahendra, I have also been working on my own thesis on faith. Basically, what it comes down to, according to my paper, is that it is always better to believe in God than not, because the cost of being wrong is eternally devastating. That's the really short version! But, I have leaned on my faith to get me through this very difficult period in my life. I have been unemployed for 20 months, and I am in the same place psychologically that I was the day after I lost my job. OK, I was still pretty upset right after it happened, but about a week later I had let it go, and vowed to remain positive, optimistic, productive and energetic (acronym POPE) until I found a new job. I have not found one yet, but I still remain POPE!
 
I guess my thoughts on world trends and happiness pretty much mirror what others have said. We are becoming more connected in some ways (Facebook, Twitter) but less connected physically and spiritually. I see the world turning into a bunch of computer screen zombies. Honestly, it's getting incredibly bad out there! I once saw a guy play a sax solo with a band, and as soon as he got done playing his solo he pulled out his phone and started texting...while he was still on the stage! Back then I thought that was so unprofessional, but now it seems ubiquitous.
 
As for my happiness, I just try to enjoy everything I can about every day I am alive. I also focus on the little things to make me happy (I even wrote a song about it!), like eating my favorite food, reading a good book, watching a funny show, going for a good bike ride, listening to some great music, things that don't cost much money and don't depend on other people. Things that I can do on my own to keep me happy. I can certainly be happy with other people, but if you can find ways to be happy on your own that's good too.
 
As for my career, I have devised a way to figure out what kind of job would really make me happy. I have come up with the top ten things in life that make me happy (what I call happiness factors, for example, connecting with people, learning, sharing information or solutions, etc.), my top skills and my top interests, then looked at different job descriptions to see which of my happiness factors, skills and interests would match with that job. I have found and applied for many jobs, but it appears that passion and aptitude aren't in as much demand these days as skills and experience. Therefore, I'm turning the page and embarking on a mission to get new skills, ones that are actually in demand. I didn't think it would come to this, but it has. I thought an economics degree, MBA, securities licenses and a certificate in econometrics would be enough to land a decent job. I was wrong, so I need to get even more educated.
 
I am going to try to do this with as little cost as possible. MOOCs are one avenue I am exploring. However, as I have said in other posts, I think it is important to have some kind of national program where government, companies and schools work together with students and workers to ensure they have the necessary skills for today's economy. We don't have that yet.
 
Okay, that's about enough for now I suppose.
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 3, 2014 - 1:29am
Ed,
Only faith can pull you through difficult times.  You are on the right track.  In Australia, which is a relatively small country in terms of population, there is 30% unemployment in people leaving the tertiary education and almost 3,500 unemployed engineers and technical people.  Mines are shedding people, manufacturing is almost non-existent and tourism is down.  As I mentioned earlier, the humanity has to re-examine the benefits of modern technology and life style.  Technology has certainly provided physical comfort but I do not believe it has done much for our psychological issues.  Please hang in there.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Mar 3, 2014 - 4:17am
Technology has been a huge boon for mankind.
 
It is very easy to get all dewy eyed and think that historically man used to live in harmony with nature.  Actually he used to die in harmony with nature.  Today we live much longer and healthier lives.
 
However, it is my opinion that our lives can be poorer in one respect:  the increasingly disconnection from our fellow man.
 
This comes about through a number of things:  the increasing use of technology including the belief that we are "connecting" via social media and that this is sufficient, the faster pace of life leaving us less time interact with others and the "greed is good" mantra of the modern age leading, to some extent, to a rather more selfish outlook.
 
As a salesman I have long been aware of the need for personal face to face contact to truly understand someone else.  These days I also try to engage in more direct contact with people socially as well.
 
I also take time to find live music, preferably small scale events where you can interact with the musicians.  The "emotional punch" of music seems to be so much greater if it is stripped down and delivered in an intimate setting where you can see the musician and vice versa.
 
It may not work for everyone, but it does seem to be making me happier.
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 3, 2014 - 4:58am
Hello Robin,
 
I requested readers to express their feelings and experiences.  I do not expect that everyone will have similar experience with technology or in life.  This is a forum where we share our views.  It is really nice to know that the technology works for you .  
 
It is also nice to see that you like personal face to face interactions. You seem to have found a very good balance.  Music is divine in my opinion and I also love listening to live music.  
 
However, in my interactions with people (I am fortunate that I have significant face to face meetings) I notice that people show signs of psychological dissatisfaction.  I do agree with you that technology has certainly extended the life span of an average human being.  I am not too sure about the healthy bit though.  Then again, one has to consider both the mental and the physical health.  I see that there are lots debates going on about this.  Selfishness is a social concern these days and, as you say, technology is partly responsible for this.  I agree with you.
 
I am grateful for your comments.
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 4, 2014 - 4:26am
Hello Susanne, Violet and Roy,
 
Thank you for your comments and input in the discussion.  I am encouraged to see that your thoughts will finally help change the consciousness of people around you. I guess that is the aim.  Slowly but surely.  It is so nice to see so amicable and polite discussion between Susanne and Violet. 
I believe that we all have a seed of spirituality in us regardless of our financial situation.  I lived with poor in India who could not afford two square meals but they had faith.  They do not doubt their faith because they understand that faith and doubt do not go hand in hand.  Either you have faith or you have doubt.  When I was young, people used to say that rich have ego and poor have faith. 
 
From the beginning of humanity people have been talking about injustices and their inability to explain the reasons for those injustices.  Science has failed and the religion has failed to explain.  The notion of Karma and reincarnation tries to put a logical argument but majority remains unconvinced.  I guess people want proof and verification and data to support.  How does one explain the existence of God if God does exist?
 
Your comment on Karma and reincarnation reminded me of a story someone who believed in Karma and reincarnation told me long time ago.  It goes "I heard the story of my life from the middle.  I do not know the beginning and it is difficult for me to predict the end".  If reincarnation is a fact, then we are all in a similar situation.
 
On this note I leave you.
 
 
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 4, 2014 - 4:43am
Alvin,
 
Thank you for your feedback.  I guess I could write an article on some technical or economic issue but I chose to write on Life because in my heart I believe that it is the most relevant topic in current climate.  There are enough articles written on how to success, ten steps to become rich etcetera.  No one is writing about how to deal with life if you lose your job or how prepare yourself psychologically if things become rough or how to stay together in difficult times.
 
 Last year my wife and I went to Spain and Italy where the unemployment rate is nearly 30%.  Strangely enough, people still laugh and have fun.  When I asked some people about how do you cope with these hardships, the response was "we stick together".  People in Southern Europe has very closed family ties which keep them sane.  I think when the troubles hit Western Europe, they will find it difficult to cope because they do not have similar values.
 
Please hang in there.  Help those who you can help and please do not be scared to ask for help.  Money can not buy happiness.  When I was in India I told a rich person "If money accumulation was the only purpose in life, the rich will sleep peacefully and poor will not be able to sleep".  If you look in life, rich need to take tranquilisers to go to sleep, poor people in India sleep soundly on the footpaths because fro them there is nothing to lose.
 
Best regards
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 5, 2014 - 3:45am
Hello Brad,
 
So much wisdom in so few words.  Beautiful words, excellently expressed and lovely comment.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts.  I would love to read more from you. 
Best regards
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 5, 2014 - 3:48am
Brad,
 
You obviously know the beauty of a peaceful and conflict free mind.  I particularly like "by emotional comfort does not mean absence of negative emotions, but the knowledge that I can endure them".
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 7, 2014 - 3:32pm
Ray,
 
The biggest tragedy of human life is that most live blindly chasing wealth and material toys hoping that we will be left with sufficient time to reflect on life.  This very rarely happens because the time does not wait for anyone. 
 
We debate about things (global warming, gun laws, religion, political divides) endlessly where we have little control.  We seldom think about our life until one suffers a heart attack or mental breakdown.
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 7, 2014 - 3:32pm
Ray,
 
The biggest tragedy of human life is that most live blindly chasing wealth and material toys hoping that we will be left with sufficient time to reflect on life.  This very rarely happens because the time does not wait for anyone. 
 
We debate about things (global warming, gun laws, religion, political divides) endlessly where we have little control.  We seldom think about our life until one suffers a heart attack or mental breakdown.
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 8, 2014 - 3:11am
John,
 
I think you are living more often than existing because you know the difference between the two and you are aware.  Yes, you are right, most people regardless of their race, religion, or culture only exist.
 
Most people sacrifice life for money, wise sacrifice money for life.  My father insisted when I was very young that I should sacrifice money for life.  That does not mean one has to live irresponsibly.  On the contrary, you make life decisions which already are made in awareness.
 
Thank you for your comment John.  Yes, the most beautiful things in this world are free.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Mar 8, 2014 - 5:40am
The Action for Happiness movement has done a lot of research into sources of happiness. 
 
Assuming that you have enough to eat and have shelter and reasonable security from crime etc, they estimate that the key sources of happiness are as follows:
 
50% from genes and upbringing
40% from activities and relationships
Only 10% from income and environment
 
Very interesting... but I think it chimes true.
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 8, 2014 - 4:22pm
In last fifty years, in schools and at home, people have been emphasizing the economic success as our measure of success.  We do not seem to talk about compassion, sharing or the importance of social issues.  How can we then expect a balanced society?
 
If we look at our society today, we will find that no one has any time to reflect on life.  Is corporate success and money giving us mental peace?  We are moving so fast but we do not know where we are going. 
 
Rightly or wrongly, fifty years ago the schools were teaching compassionate values through the religious studies.  Now we are focusing on society defined success.  The more things one has the more worried one is.  A Serbian colleague of mine quoted his father "first we are worried how to make lots of money, and then we are worried about how to keep that money so that we do not lose it".  I say, if the money was the answer to human issues then "the rich will have a conflict free mind and sleep well and poor will not be able to sleep at all".  If we observe, that is not the case.  Therefore money by itself is not the answer. 
Mike Haluska Added Mar 9, 2014 - 11:58am
Most of the successful "workaholics" I know don't view their job as work - they really enjoy what they do and that's what keeps them interested and active.  
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 9, 2014 - 3:45pm
Mark,
Thanks for your comment.  It is nice to know that you not only take part in serious world issues but also enjoy reading about life.  I feel that it is always nice to combine the two. 
 
I look forward to your next article. 
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 9, 2014 - 4:03pm
Mike,
 
It is strange that all my discussions with people at the lower socio-economic scale end up concluding that the work is essential and, where possible, we must be sincere in what we do. 
 
People on other upper end of the corporate ladder always try to convince me that they are workaholics because they love and enjoy their jobs. I often ask this workaholics why they love their jobs when there are so many other things to love in the word.  One can spend times with their loved ones, spend time on the beach, with a beautiful girl/man, travelling the world, playing sport or listening to music.  When asked this question, they have no honest response.  If one can spend eight hours at work with concentration one can achieve a lot.
Are people running away from the realities of life?  Do they love their work or they love the money or talking about work is a boost for their ego.  I really feel sorry for the workaholics.  I give warning to my young engineers if they are working long hours.  Efficient people do no need to work long hours.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Mar 10, 2014 - 2:08am
Relationships may be "tough" but they ar
Robin the red breasted songster Added Mar 10, 2014 - 2:16am
Malfunction there... sorry chaps.
 
Relationships may be tough, but they are one of the ways in which we can control our own happiness.  They are therefore worth working at.
 
A key to relationships is compromise.   This can be difficult for highly driven individuals.   Yes, sometimes people do lie and they do let you down.  We are all human and, if you understand why they lie, you can be more forgiving.  No-one wins at relationships if they insist that they are in the "right".
 
I have found that, since I have stopped trying to scale the greasy corporate pole, relationships have become much easier and much more rewarding.  You need to time to spend with other people.
 
You need to try and be less selfish.  Subborn your own needs to those of others.
 
But the great thing is, our brains seem to be hard wired to enjoy doing this.  I get more pleasure out of pro bono work than ever I did from work where I am trying to enrich myself.
 
You also need time to yourself, time to reflect.  Walking in the country is best for this.  If it is a nice afternoon, I simply walk out of the door and head off across the fields.  I am always happier by the time I come home.  Along the way I will often meet a farmer or a dog walker.  We chat about the weather, about cabbages and kings.
 
Sometimes I think that it is these small things, the minutiae of life, that are actually the most important.
 
This morning I can hear a woodpecker at work in an old tree across the meadow.  I would never have noticed that before.
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 10, 2014 - 4:12am
Mark,
 
I tend to agree with you with regards to relationships and expectations.  In any relationship (spouse, mother/son, sister/brother etcetera) we start to expect things and then there are string of lies which eventually cause the relationship breakdown.
 
Robin, it is true that relationships can be a source of happiness but where there  is expectation, sooner or later problems arise.
 
I say "It is so beautiful to have relationships without being actually related".
Robin the red breasted songster Added Mar 10, 2014 - 5:37am
You are right about expectations.   You should honour your promises.  So don't make them lightly.
 
If you are not made an explicit promise... don't build castles in the air.   We are all free.   As the song goes:  if you love someone, set them free.
 
Love can only be freely given
Mike Haluska Added Mar 10, 2014 - 9:07am
Mahendra - I must qualify my definition of "workaholic".  I don't mean that a "workaholic" is someone who spends all his waking hours at the job, just somebody who really enjoys doing the work.  Spending an inordinate amount of time at the job and not enjoying your life is not rational, in my opinion.
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 10, 2014 - 3:31pm
Mike/Robin,
 
I have some idea what is happening in America and Europe but obviously you know more.  In Australia things are not nearly as good as they used to be.  
 
A recent survey of school kids show that nearly 30% of school kids between fourteen years and sixteen years of age said that they felt depressed.  One has to now seriously question what is happening to our society and our relationships.  
 
I think we have to review our relationships and code of conduct.  Parents need to spend more times with their kids so that they can understand them and relive them of their pain.  Money was never an answer to human issues and it never will be.  We need to restore the balance in our lives.
 
I always tell my colleagues "sacrifice money for life and not life for money".
Mike Haluska Added Mar 11, 2014 - 10:16am
I see a direct correlation between kids not having some responsibilities mixed with physical activities and happy kids with a positive outlook.  In the US I see kids with no activities (other than stupid computer games) and nothing expected of them.  I can imagine that mixing a kid's normally high energy level with nothing to do can produce disastrous results.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Mar 12, 2014 - 1:37am
I can't really talk about "kids" in general.  However I do meet a lot of children from my wife's school.
 
I continue to be impressed by their cheerfulness, creativity and friendliness.  I am sure that their confidence is way higher than mine at their age.  They are a pleasure to be around.
 
However I do see problems for many of the young adults I meet.  Once again, there are some very nice young people.  However they are struggling to find their way in life.
 
We have done them a disservice by encouraging 50% of them to get a University degree.  They emerge from 3 or 4 years of study to find that there are too many of them and not enough jobs which require a degree.
 
Most knuckle down and get themselves a job of some type.  But some struggle.  Often the children of wealthier parents struggle to most... because their parents wealth enables them to put off the idea of starting with a menial job.  Instead they often end up doing a further degree... emerge even better qualified... to find even fewer relevant opportunities... and so the cycle repeats until they get bored and drop out.
 
I have recently been working with two young and highly intelligent women... both daughters of wealthy parents.   The going in this particular enterprise is tough.  The work is hard and often quite basic.  One of them is sticking it out.  The other... gone back to college.
 
This may become an even bigger challenge as we get further into the second machine age.   I understand that more and more jobs will become automated without, as in previous automation cycles, a corresponding opening up of new employment opportunites for humans.
 
There will be new jobs in areas such as care work.  Jobs such as gardening, plumbing etc will also increase in relative pay (for humans).  However the need for degree educated people is likely to go down rather than up.
 
So what will happen to our young people?
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 12, 2014 - 3:34am
Mike,
 
What is happening in America is happening here in Australia.  Australia is a sporting nation but the number of kids participating in sports is declining.  Golf courses (annual fees of only $300.00 dollars for kids under sixteen) are crying out for membership, empty tennis courts and soccer grounds.  Kids are busy playing with computer games.  Violence in schools, bullying, obesity in kids is on the rise with lacking discipline.  One has to seriously wonder where are we heading.  It is soon going to be a social epidemic.  God bless us all.
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 12, 2014 - 4:08am
Robin,
 
I do not know the situation in England so I can not agree or disagree with you.  However, I know that different worlds exist between the same nation and the same city.  For example the North of England and the South of England, East London and West London and then the rich and the poor, the ones who have and the deprived, the clever and the dumb so on and so for.  One experiences where one lives and the people we associate with.
 
I somehow believe that the kids today have more psychological pressures than the kids say forty years ago.  Too many distractions, too many choices, too much competition and too much isolation (result of computer games).
 
With regards of future jobs, I agree with you that the university graduates will find it hard to get jobs because they are providing useless degrees based on Google knowledge and very little understanding.  Soon there will be glut of menial tasks employees.  Perhaps soon they will have robots for doing gardening and dispensing tablets to the elderly and the sick.
 
What are the young kids going to do?  We should start praying otherwise they will beat up the elderly.  Perhaps we should consider de-technolising the world.   
Robin the red breasted songster Added Mar 13, 2014 - 1:38am
Caz:  Perhaps, when you are poor, you are forced to co-operate more with those around you.
 
As we have become wealthier we have been able to afford to be more independent of each other.
 
When I was a kid I lived in a row of thatched cottages.  It was a tight knit community.  We helped each other with various jobs, got shopping and had parties together.
 
It always seemed to be a very merry sort of existence.
 
Today, I am much wealthier, and I have to take positive steps to get involved in community projects... it no longer happens naturally.
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 13, 2014 - 5:03am
Caz,
 
Thank you for your well thought out comment and particularly so because it is based on your experiences and observations.  You have certainly raised some very valid points.  I agree with you that the technology is not the root cause but it has certainly accelerated the process of human disconnection.  I feel that technology in combination with the recent affluence has certainly exposed the inherent human characteristics such as greed, selfishness and the ability to divide.  
 
When I look around I see that the technology (electronic games, computers, internet, television etcetera) has isolated members of society and the members of families from each other.  In my hotel room I wrote "relationships die when from us we become you and I".  I guess that is the point you made.  Perhaps I am old fashioned.  
 
I hope to share your travel experiences and compare notes one day. 
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 15, 2014 - 6:12am
Thanks Joseph.  I was brought up to respect all religions but I follow none.  I do not dispute that Bible has lot of answers that we all are looking for.  I consider myself to be very fortunate and blessed person.  I have been offered all the joys in this life.
 
Like you say in your comment above, I do feel that we can find God, happiness and love within us and that is what I am searching within.  I do not believe in the opposites such as pass/fail, profit/loss, success/failure etcetera.  I live my life without comparing or analyzing.  Thank you very much for your kind words.
Mahendra Kent Added Mar 15, 2014 - 4:05pm
Erin,
 
Human existence is by blaming and justification only.  They can not survive without comparison and measurement.  Human race is a parasite and fraud is their main characteristic.  Let us enjoy the show.
Bill H. Added Jul 8, 2016 - 1:09am
Society no longer analyzes for a better solution to issues. They just blame and point fingers.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jul 8, 2016 - 2:50am
There are many millions of jobs which need doing.   These exist in the care of the elderly and, perhaps, in the care an improvement of the environment.
 
The problem is that these are not jobs which are "economically" valuable.   They will not therefore be supported by our current society model.
 
Economically valuable jobs, on the other hand, are increasingly being done by automation.   This will lead to ever greater hardship, even in places like China which are current sources of cheap labour.
 
A new model is needed.   We, as a species, no longer need to labour every day in order to create sufficient "wealth".   The problem will be to create a system which allows us all to qualify for a share of that wealth through our efforts.
Mircea Negres Added Jul 8, 2016 - 1:58pm
Nice post, Mr. Kent. People often mistake knowledge for wisdom and while ignorance isn't bliss, today's problem is that people in their twenties and early thirties actually know less than their parents even though they have access to far more information. Furthermore, fear of rejection among others keeps today's youth from connecting with others on a human level, to the point where people sitting next to each other would rather text one another instead of talk. This comes with consequences, social awkwardness being just one, but eventually it all leads to feelings of loneliness, depression, booze, pills and a shrink whose kids go to an Ivy League university because their parent makes a mint out of listening to others' repetitive litanies.
 
I think it will get worse and it won't surprise me if the birth rate falls around 20 years from now and eventually people end up living like the characters from an Isaac Asimov novel, where individuals lived on huge estates surrounded by robots and making babies through IVF- which my late grandfather used to call "made in the hand, thrown in the p&^%y".
 
To a certain extent, life is what we make of it, although these days employers are certainly squeezing more than they did 20 years ago. It's up to us to find the point of balance between work and private life, even if sometimes it may make us unemployed.
 
On that subject, Ed Kashmarek's got me beat. Man, I thought my nearly 17 months of unemployment was a lot, but 20 is definitely worse.